Scripture Reading: Luke 11:43
“Woe to you P’rushim, because you love the best seat in the synagogues and being deferentially in the marketplaces!” (Luke 11:43)
People, in general, like to be given honour and prestige — and My people are no different. Even today, there are special seats of honour in the synagogue. In Russia, the seats along the eastern wall of the synagogue are the most “prized” seats. And of all those along the wall, the seat closest to the Rabbi, who is seated right next to the Ark, is the most honourable of all. The one who sits there is respected by all the local Jews.
When I rebuked the Pharisees, it was because of their love of the praises of men. They sometimes paid bribery money in order to “buy” these special “pews” in their synagogue, and if anyone came in who didn’t know that a certain important official “owned” that seat or “pew, ” he would be treated rudely until he was forced to move and sit somewhere else. Formerly this was true of pews and seats in Christian churches also — and in some places it still is the custom.
They not only wanted honour in the synagogues, they also expected to be treated with special honour and preference in the market-place, and to be given special privileges. They would demand that people should move out of their way to let them pass through. And if they purchased anything, they expected the seller to give it to them at a special price!
Their attitude was haughty and proud because they truly thought they were better than others and should therefore have special consideration. After all, the word “pharisee” means ‘”separatist.” And they separated themselves from others — not because they wanted to draw closer to God, but because they thought they were better than others.
I rebuked them because I hate pride, and there is no pride worse than religious pride. It is only as a humble sinner that man can approach God. These men stood afar off from God in life and in death.
Never seek the acclaim of men. Be humble, like I was, and You will be great in the Kingdom of God; for humility is the greatest gift that you can possess.
It is not the honour which you receive from man that is important, but the honour you receive from the Father.
You might not be worthy of the honours which men give you. People may only honour you because they want favours from you, or because they fear you. But the honour you receive from God (which is the honour that is earned by your purity and honesty) is eternal.
Strive for this higher honour.
From the Heart of Jesus by Gwen Shaw
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